Some dystopian worlds are backdrops for a nice dainty love triangle. Others . . . are vicious little apocalyptic hellscapes where you need to eat human flesh to survive, or die in a giant plume of infectious mist.
And This Mortal Coil . . . is of the second type. It’s shocking, horrifying, a little bit gory (okay, maybe a lot), but so so cool.
Emily Suvada’s guest posting today with her This Mortal Coil Survival Guide, featuring some of the best ways to stay alive in this scary, dark world.
Plus, there’s my review of This Cruel Design (spoiler: loved it!) and a giveaway for two copies of This Cruel Design. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Also, there are no spoilers for This Mortal Coil in the guest post. The only parts of this post you should avoid if you haven’t read This Mortal Coil are my review & This Cruel Design‘s summary! So read on!
A This Mortal Coil Survival Guide:
How to Stay Alive in a World Where People Burst Into Plumes of Infectious Mist, by Emily Suvada
Hey there, friend. So you’ve found yourself on the surface of the planet during the outbreak of the Hydra virus. I don’t know why you didn’t go into one of those comfy, clean bunkers like everyone else, but hey – it’s a free world, right? You’re free to live in an apocalyptic hellscape if you want!
So let’s talk a little bit about that hellscape. You might have noticed craters in the ground, about the size you’d expect if a person were to explode. Well, funny you should say that—because that’s exactly what they are! See, the Hydra virus has this fancy way of killing its victims and spreading faster than you can say ka-boom. The virus creeps into your cells, incubates there, and then it’ll turn you into a giant pink mushroom-cloud of infectious mist! It’s a hell of a sight, and it just might be the last you’ll ever see if you’re standing too close. If you find yourself within a mile of one of these clouds – it’s over, red rover. You’re infected, and you might as well go and find yourself a nice quiet place where you can explode in peace.
There is one hope, though. And no, it’s not gas masks. They just don’t work over the long-term. That’s like using an umbrella in a storm – sometimes you’re still going to get wet. There’s a way to get sure-fire immunity, but… I don’t think you’re going to like it. See, if you can find someone who’s infected, but who hasn’t detonated yet, and you can convince them to give you a chunk of their raw flesh, then you’ll be home safe for about two weeks. That’s right—to stay healthy, you’ve gotta eat the sick. Appetizing, huh?
Immunity is going to be your first priority, and I’m afraid to say that you’re going to have to get your hands dirty, or rather bloody, if you want to make it out of this hellscape alive. But once you’ve got yourself a nice supply of frozen doses to keep the virus at bay, you’re going to have to start worrying about things like food and shelter.
Food isn’t easy. Most of it comes out of manufacturing complexes these days, and all the farmers and workers either went ka-boom or scurried into one of those bunkers like most intelligent people. You could try growing food, or scavenging through other people’s houses, but to make it through the winter you’re probably best finding other people to band together with and share your resources. Of course, more people equals more chances of infection or attack, so you’ll have to be ruthless in keeping other people away from your homes.
Or you can go it alone. Look, it’s a viable strategy. Find a house in the middle of nowhere, ideally somewhere near water, and hoard as much long-life food as you can. It’s a good idea to keep a shotgun handy, since you’re going to run the risk of people coming along and trying to take what’s yours. It’s a lonely road, and it’s up to you to keep yourself warm and alive, but this is a dangerous world, and sometimes the most dangerous things in it can be the people you think you can trust. If you choose to hunker down in a cabin and wait out this plague, I wish you the best.
Just don’t run out of ammunition.
OMG WOW wasn’t that such a perfect survival guide? It has such a good mix of snap, sarcasm, and foreboding-ness that is honestly the reason why I love Emily Suvada and This Mortal Coil so much! Which brings me to my review of this awesome book…
(Also, spoilers for book 1 ahead, so if you don’t want to read them, skip till you see the Rafflecopter button! You can always check out my spoiler-free review of This Mortal Coil!)
Emily Suvada is honestly my favorite writer for plot twists and cliffhangers and all sorts of action-y goodness. And she totally pulled through with This Cruel Design, throwing us all sorts of twists and turns and cliffhangers (so many cliffhangers) that I just ate up.
Seriously. If you thought book 2 would be any less exciting than book 1, you’re very wrong.
Although I didn’t love This Cruel Design as much as I did This Mortal Coil (more on that later), the action and twists were still similarly up to par, which I know Suvada values a lot in her writing, and this definitely shows through.
Something about her writing has me flipping to the next chapter even though I know I’m supposed to be doing something else, and this makes her books so entertaining, which I love.
I do think part of the reason why I didn’t love This Cruel Design as much as I did This Mortal Coil was because I was expecting to like This Cruel Design, where I walked into This Mortal Coil basically blind and hoping for something good (and something good it was).
So, the surprise factor went away, and my expectations went up with this book, which set me up to not love it as much.
It was still sooo good though.
I am still in love with all the science jargon and the way Suvada explains things makes sense, at least to me. Obviously if you’re someone who’s not super into science-jargon in books, then you’re probably not going to like this, but if you go through This Mortal Coil relatively unscathed, then you’ll be fine with this.
The science wasn’t just there to be kitschy, it had actual purpose to the story, which I really liked.
Where This Cruel Design fell flat for me was honestly the characters. In book 1, I wasn’t expecting as much, but with this book, I was looking for something more complex, and ultimately I feel like I didn’t get that.
I do think This Cruel Design is setting us up for a lot of character stuff (especially with Catarina and [redacted]), but I didn’t get that sort of interaction I desired in this book.
I enjoyed how Suvada made us question Catarina and Cole’s relationship (which, I am very excited to explore this new dynamic), and this was definitely my favorite character relationship in the novel!
And also, some of the new characters were very cool (Mato, especially) and I crave more of those character juxtaposition moments.
Still, I did feel a little let down with the meager amount of character dynamics, but I also get that it was to add to the non-stop action.
Similarly, I feel like I wasn’t as…horrified. I mean, first off, I’ve already gotten desensitized to the whole “eat a person to be immune” premise, and I guess dying and death and suffering and illness don’t really faze me, which definitely could have been a result of me knowing more about these books and knowing that there was a third book in store.
Overall, though, I still gobbled up all the action and adventure and science in This Cruel Design, and definitely recommend this book and the whole series for anyone looking for a non-stop, gritty dystopia to read!
More About the Book
This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada (This Mortal Coil #2)
October 30, 2018
Young Adult – Science Fiction
Cat thought the Hydra epidemic was over, but when new cases pop up, Cat must team up with an enemy to fix the vaccine before the virus spirals out of control in this thrilling sequel to This Mortal Coil, which New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman says “redefines ‘unputdownable.’”
The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.
Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.
When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.
But when confronted with lies and betrayals, Cat is forced to question everything she knows and everyone she trusts. And while Lachlan is always two steps ahead, the biggest threat to Cat may be the secrets buried in her own mind.
More About the Author
Emily Suvada was born and raised in Australia, where she went on to study mathematics and astrophysics. She previously worked as a data scientist, and still spends hours writing algorithms to perform tasks which would only take minutes to complete on her own. When not writing, she can be found hiking, cycling, and conducting chemistry experiments in her kitchen. She currently lives in Portland, OR, with her husband.
Want to try your luck at winning a copy of This Cruel Design? Click on the Rafflecopter button below to enter in the giveaway where two lucky winners will win a copy of This Cruel Design! (US only). Or, you can use the buy links in the ‘More About the Book’ section to purchase your own copy!
Thank you so much to Tig Wallace & Penguin UK for providing me with an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review! And thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this tour! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour stops below!
Fan-Girl-Tastic – Review of This Cruel Design & Favorite Quotes